The Things that Make Us Laugh

It’s been awhile.

With all the events and drama surrounding my life in the last few months, I’m thankful for the few things that continue to make me look forward to returning to the land of the living, and enjoying a daily existence filled with joy and laughter.

While things will never go back to how “normal” used to be, there are a few things that continue to take me to a temporary world of laughter and joy — enough to make me realize that in life, there is always hope.

This post is an homage to the things that make me laugh out loud and take my mind off all my worries… and an homage to the creators of these wonderful shows who bring entertainment and lightness into many homes.

1. Pscyh

Created by Steve Franks, appearing on the USA Network. It’s a criminal investigative show with a different twist – for at the core of the show are 2 friends who are the “Head Psychics” of the Santa Barbara Police Department. Light, funny, witty and laugh out loud. Close to (but not exactly) slapstick — the screenplay is brilliant.

Watch as these 2 childhood friends “work” with the stiff, upper-lip type Head Detective (Lassiter) and the hot detective chick (O’Hara) to solve crimes that take place in Santa Barbara – and see how detective work takes a different spin from the eyes of an ultra-observant guy posed as a “psychic”.

This “psychic”‘s dad is also  kinda funny, by the way.

When you watch an episode, wait til the end credits for the “Psych Out Moments” that are the perfect punctuation to an hour of silly but worth-it entertainment.

2. Big Bang Theory

Four geeks, a hot chick and awesomely geeky dialog — and four seasons later, you still can’t get enough. I would say that this show truly made geeks cool – for the first time ever. Suddenly, dressing up as the doppler effect and attending Renaissance Fairs in full medieval gear isn’t a loser’s style anymore — but a cool geek’s mark.

Knowing who Spock is; memorizing all the thousands of comic book titles and editions; and having a weekly routine of dinner fare is actually kinda fun.

And the beauty and the geek isn’t a far cry from reality anymore – cause truly, the nice geeks get the hot chick. Well, sometimes.

3. How I Met Your Mother

A love story in reverse; a playboy chauvinist who created the “Bro Code”; a truly lovable couple named Marshall and Lily; a Canadian teen pop star turned news anchorwoman; and a pitifully romantic idealist searching for his one and only “true love” — these are just some of the things that make this show what it is. Charming, endearing and almost addictive.

Lighthearted comedy that also strikes a chord in the heart of a romantic and hopeful – that really, no matter how bad things may get, there’s something great at the end of the road.

4. Glee!

Well, duh… after all my raves about this show, it cannot not have its own number on this list.

Hate her all you want, but I will always loooove Rachel. Aside from an amazing voice, she’s the one who makes this show different from all the other shows about teenagers that have the usual slew of mean cheerleaders, dumb arrogant jocks and loser geeks. Without Rachel (and okay, to be fair, all the other stereotypes that the show has broken – like the head cheerleader getting knocked up; the football team captain being dumped gallons of slushies…you get the drift), this show could have had all the possible markings of just another TV show about angsty teenagers who are obsessed with sex. Oh, and they sing and dance.

High School Musical, this ain’t.

Aside from the ear-friendly music that the show has generated… the fun, evocative and truly youthful dialogue… this is one show I always count on to take me away from real life blues to give me a couple of minutes of fun and pure enjoyment.

5. 30 Rock

Liz Lemon, Jack Donaghy and Tracy Jordan make me laugh til my sides ache. Maybe because in some weird way, the show’s premise is a little close to what I do on a day to day basis.

Meeting deadlines everyday for scripts, print ads, television storyboards… battling it out with producers (or in our case, clients)… dealing with difficult diva talents and celebrities… and all the ins and outs and dynamics of people who work together and in close proximity every single day.

They say that laughter is always the best medicine, and I would tend to agree. And I would thank the geniuses behind shows such as these above for giving normal, everyday people like us reasons to remember that life is just life… with ups and downs… and through every down, there’s an up just waiting to happen.

So never lose hope, whoever you are.

If you’re feeling down in the dumps, sad, depressed, helpless, in pain or simply tired — pop in 30 minutes or an hour of fun and laughter to temporarily take away those blues. And these shows up here – they’re my reco. If you have your own list, then by all means, pop that in and laugh away!

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Top Five. The Fictional TV Characters I Wish were Real

I’m starting a new thing in this blog which I’m calling “Top Five”. Just for kicks.

My first “Top Five” pays homage to the brilliant minds who created characters on Television today whom if these people had been real, they would certainly and surely make the world… well, not necessarily a better place, but surely a more interesting one. Good or bad, these characters make Bart Simpson seem like just another regular Joe.

1. Jack Bauer. You can’t not know Jack Bauer. He’s the lead character in the TV series 24. An ex-CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) agent, eventually became a CTU Director, then a free agent, then a wanted fugitive, and eventually a private citizen who simply wanted to live his life in peace. But we know better. As long as Jack Bauer roams the streets of the planet Earth, Jack Bauer can never rest in peace.

The world needs people like him. The guy you can count on to always do the right thing regardless of the cost to himself. He has literally died (twice!) for his country; been tagged as a hardcore enemy of the state; sacrificed his wife, daughter and friends for the sake of the country. He has saved the world from countless terrorist attacks, saved the lives of millions. If a Jack Bauer really existed in this lifetime, maybe terrorists would think thrice about striking.

2. Michael Westen. The lead character of Burn Notice, a show about the life of an ex-agent who gets burned, leaving him with no prior work history, no money; in essence, no identity. He suddenly wakes up after a humongous explosion while on a mission in Nigeria, in Miami, Florida, attended to by an ex-girlfriend, and an old friend who tells on his activities to the US government. The entire series is all about Michael investigating why he was burned and by whom; and trying to find ways to restore his identity and recover his assets. But in the meantime, he accepts odd jobs helping people who can’t help themselves, and who can’t ask help from official channels. Victims of scams and cons; targets of gangsters and mobs; people who were basically taken advantage of, ripped off and abused.

His methods, like Jack Bauer, are often questionable. But he does what needs to be done, and his heart is in the right place. You’ll never catch this guy crossing over to the wrong side of the fence. He will always champion the side of the good, albeit the side of good can sometimes be riddled with shades of grey. And he’s street smart too. ‘Course he is, he was one of the US’ best field agents before he was burned. A modern day but low-key MacGyver who’s loyal to the core.

3. Dr. Sheldon Cooper turns 20 minutes of each Big Bang Theory episode into 20 minutes of utter hilarity and uproarious belly-aching laughter. The young know-it-all genius Physicist who has absolutely no concept of emotional intelligence makes Geekdom seem like the coolest thing to be. He puts pompom-donning cheerleaders and prom queens to shame. Admittedly, he is a bit arrogant…. (okay, ‘a bit’ is an outright lie), has no concept of what it means to be a good friend, is probably asexual, and is emotionally constipated.

But he’s absolutely funny and adorable! He can probably change our perception of sub-atomic particles, black holes  and whatever other things that rock the world of Physics (leaving about 99.99% of the world’ population in complete obscurity about such discoveries), but he surely wouldn’t be the best housemate to anyone. But he can sure make us all laugh. And with a character as oblivious and clueless as that, he’d make for a highly entertaining companion, as long as you’re not in dire need of a morale boost.

4. Mademoiselle Blair Waldorf from the Upper East Side. ‘Queen B’, as she was fondly called up until Season 2 of Gossip Girl. Absolutely spoiled, insane and sometimes bordering on having a blackened soul… but gorgeous, trendy, funny and sweet, in her own bitter-sour way. Most people I know who love Gossip Girl, love Blair Waldorf more than her other Upper East Side female buds. She’s often a hardcore bitch with a capital ‘B’. But when she loves someone, she loves them to death.

Do not ever make the mistake of crossing the Queen of the hive, she can guarantee you’ll be out of friend, acquaintances, a home, a hometown… she can even send an entire city running after you…. if it doesn’t get to Gossip Girl first. If Blair were real, I’d give my entire month’s salary to make sure I’m on her good side. The best part… while I may not have the heart nor the guts for sweet satisfying revenge on those who wrong me, Queen B certainly does…

5. Walter Bishop is the genius of Fringe. A bit weird, yes. That’s what genius does to many.

And maybe if Walter Bishop were real, the fabric between our world and the parallel world would tear and other versions of ourselves would be crossing over, wreaking havoc on the world as we know it. And maybe buildings with thousands of people in them would start crossing over and pushing aside our buildings on this side. And maybe we’d have children test subjects who would be exhibiting extraordinary abilities when they reach adulthood so they can defeat evil. Would that be such a bad thing?

But okay, scientific genius aside, we love Walter Bishop cause he’s lovable, adorable and a generally good father to Peter. He may have technically stolen his son from the other side… but he’s certainly making up for it in his older age.

Who’s on your top five?